Monday, October 13, 2014


During the fall months around Estes Park and The Rocky Mountain National Park, the elk descend to  lower ground as the frigid winter announces its eminent arrival in the higher elevations.  At this time, too, the bucks are at a yearly high of testosterone, necessary to sprout their impressive racks often weighing up to forty pounds and extending to four feet.  As the rutting season reaches a peak,  the healthy, robust bulls engage in a 24-hour-a-day mating ritual that involves sometime as many as 50 cows that make up his harem.  The eerie bugling of the bulls can be heard at all hours as they make their presence known, attracting the cows and staking their area from other competing bulls hoping to attract a willing mate to join their harem.

No matter where you spot the tell-tale cluster of cows and their offspring, you'll find somewhere in the area the majestic bull riding herd, protecting his cows from other bulls, predators and the hordes of tourists with their binoculars, cell phone cameras, Nikons and video devices eager to capture this unique, yearly ritual.

And occasionally, you're rewarded in seeing the other end of the cycle as was the case of this gigantic, aging bull (its size evidenced by the car that is dwarfed as it wisely gives right of way).  Gone are his active mating days and what once might have been a magnificent rack in his prime.   There no longer are harems or challenges from younger bulls, but even then, this lone Roosevelt Elk of Colorado is still a magnificent creature to behold, to photograph and to cherish.


  1. Glorious scenery and the magnificent drama of the circle of life played out before you. Fantastic photos! :D

  2. The scenes and animals are magnificent. Your photos are stunning as usual. If I get to go to an OPS paintout in the mountains and you are there, I will follow you around. Great stuff Jim.